Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I'm currently working my way through David Platt's most recent Secret Church podcasts. They're on "The Gospel, Possessions, and Prosperity" and they've really challenged my way of thinking on some things. He began the first sermon by going through some statistics. I'm a statistics person; they put things into perspective for me. And normally, they bring me to action a little quicker than a cute story. Some of them really stood out to me, and I wanted to share them. Obviously, I'm recommending you go download this series (It has 4 parts, each about an hour long).

There are currently around 6,645 unreached people groups in the World. This comes out to being about 2.75 BILLION individuals.

Over a billion people live in desperate poverty (less than $1 a day). About 200 million of these individuals are children that are exported for labor. The children that grow up in this desperate poverty will suffer brain damage because of inadequate nutrition during the first two years of life.

Over 6000 people will die each day in Africa due to AIDS.

Close to 2 billion people live on less than $2 a day.

26,000 children will die today because of either starvation or preventable disease.

If you make $50,000 a year, you are in the top 1% of the world. When you examine the global economy, people making over $10,066 are considered High Income. The average American Christian income is $42,409 (which is in the top 2.5%).

North American Christians give an average of 2.5% of their income to the church. And these North American churches give an average of 2% of the their funds to missions overseas. This means that for every $100 a North American Christian makes, we give about 5 CENTS to missions overseas.
To put this in perspective, churches spend about $10 billion dollars on buildings.  We spend twice as much on cut flowers, one and a half times as much on video games, about five times as much on pets, about one and a half times as much on chewing gum, and twenty six times as much on soft drinks. (Craig Blomberg)

I think we have a major problem. It's an epidemic in our churches and in our individual lives. We life comfortably in our affluence and we would rather pretend that poverty doesn't exist. But, IT DOES. And these statistics are real people. Living real lives. Real people living real lives that need to hear about the real love of a Savior that we call Jesus. I can't go about my normal affluent life without thinking of these things anymore. Yeah, that Smart phone? Would be awesome. It's convenient, I mean, I could check my email every 5 minutes from it. But, really, think about how many kids you could help send to school with the money you would save by not buying that new gadget. Or the number of kids that might be able to eat a meal tonight. Or maybe, if you teamed up with some people, you could even buy a well so they could have clean drinking water.

But, it's not just overseas. Yes, there is a lot of need in places outside of our country. And honestly, it's probably (okay it is...) worse in some places. But, think about the people in your community. Maybe it's not telling them about Jesus, but maybe it's showing them love. Maybe it's about loving out neighbors because that's what God has called us to do. Maybe it's about giving up some "nice things" so that we can be able to be used as a vessel for God's glory. Maybe we're called to live a life of love (for God and the people he has placed around us).

Just some thoughts I've had. You?
Then he will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me." They also will answer, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?" He will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."

-Matthew 25:41-45 (NIV)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my goodness. You are so right. I could not believe that - for every $100, only five cents is sent overseas! I hate to be so blunt, but frankly, that's unacceptable. And what's worse is that we spend far more on making our churches "user-friendly" to those around us.
    The gospel is counter-cultural. If we soften the message, we pervert the gospel. And that makes us liars.
    I believe that domestic missions is as important as foreign missions. But I believe that neither can be done if we aren't turning our lives upside-down in order to be vessels for God's use and glory - and I think that's happening at neither the individual nor the church level, if we are not focusing on sharing His unchanged Word with others!
    Thank you for sharing this, Lauren - it is surely a message we need to hear and share.